Keep reading to discover the 10 most beneficial natural remedies for headaches that you can easily use at home to relieve your symptoms and feel better!
A headache is a common condition that people deal with from time to time. Causes may range from simple exhaustion, dehydration, and stress to an underlying condition.
Whatever your case, headaches can be quite disturbing. While managing the underlying cause is the best solution, there are natural remedies for headaches that can help ease the pain in the meantime. Who knows, this could be all you need to get back on your feet!
What Causes Headaches?
Headaches can be caused by various factors ranging from simple causes that you can easily manage to more complex ones that may require a doctor’s intervention.
Common causes include:
Stress is a very common trigger for headaches. When we’re stressed, our muscles tense up and can cause pain in the head and neck area.
Research shows that when you don’t drink enough water, your brain cells shrink and pull away from the scalp. This puts pressure on the nerves and surrounding muscles causing pain.
Dehydration has also been shown to worsen headaches from a preexisting medical condition.
When you’re hungry, your blood sugar levels drop. This can lead to dizziness and lightheadedness, which can then turn into a headache.
Also, when you’re hungry, your body is under stress because it needs food. This stress can lead to tension headaches or migraines.
When you strain your eyes, the muscles in your eyes and head can become tense, leading to a headache.
Eyestrain can be caused by a number of things, including:
- Staring at a computer screen or other digital device for long periods
- Reading in low light
- Doing close work, such as sewing or painting
If you often get headaches, take a break from your work or activity every 20 minutes or so and focus on something else at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will help relieve the tension in your eyes and head.
5. Poor posture
When you have poor posture, your head does not align with your spine. This can cause a lot of tension in the muscles and ligaments in your neck and shoulders, leading to headaches.
Also, poor posture can cause the nerves in your neck to become compressed, leading to headaches.
6. Caffeine withdrawal
If you regularly drink caffeinated beverages and then suddenly stop, you may get a headache. This is because your body is used to caffeine and needs it to function properly.
7. Sinus infections
Sinus infections can cause pain in the forehead and around the eyes. This is due to the pressure from the infection causing inflammation in the sinuses.
8. Health conditions
Headaches can also be caused by more serious conditions such as a concussion, a brain tumor, meningitis, or a stroke.
If you experience severe or persistent headaches, it is important to see a doctor to rule out any of these more serious causes.
Types of Headaches:
There are four common types of headaches, including:
1. Tension headache
A tension headache is a mild to moderate pain in the head, often described as feeling a tight band around the head.
This is the most common type in adults and teens and often occurs when the scalp and neck muscles tense and contract due to various factors, including stress.
Cluster headaches are one of the most severe types of headaches. They are typically characterized by excruciating pain on one side of the head, often accompanied by watery eyes and a runny nose.
Cluster headaches typically come in “clusters,” meaning that they occur several times per day for weeks or months at a time, followed by periods of remission.
The exact cause of cluster headaches is unknown, but they are relatively rare, affecting only 1-2% of the population. There’s also no cure, but treatments are available to help relieve the pain and prevent future attacks.
A migraine headache is a type of headache that is characterized by throbbing or pulsing pain, often on only one side of the head.
It may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Some people also experience an aura before a migraine headache begins. Auras are visual or sensory disturbances that warn that a migraine is about to start.
For many people, migraines are debilitating and can interfere with work, school, and other activities. Migraines often have no cure, but one can use medication to lessen the frequency and severity of attacks.
Sinus headaches are usually caused by an infection or inflammation of the sinuses.
The sinuses are the air-filled cavities around the nose and eyes. When they become inflamed, it can cause pressure and pain in the forehead, temples, or cheeks. Sometimes the pain is also felt in the teeth.
Sinus headaches often accompany other symptoms, such as a runny nose and congestion. They are usually worse when you have a cold/flu, allergies, or when you first wake up because your sinuses have been draining all night. They can also be worse when you bend over or lie down.
Treatment for a sinus headache will vary depending on the underlying cause.
Natural Remedies for Headaches:
1. Drinking water
Water is life, and every cell in the body needs water to function properly. In fact, the human body is made up of 45-75% water, so a reduced intake is going to disrupt normal functions and may present with various symptoms, including headaches.
Drinking water helps restore normal cell size and function, providing relief to an existing headache.
2. Using a cold or warm compress
Depending on the type of headache, a cold or warm compress can help relieve and headache.
According to research, cold therapy is the number one remedy for migraines, while warm therapies are more suitable for tension headaches.
A cold compress works by numbing the area, which diminishes the pain sensation.
In one study, the application of frozen neck wraps at the onset of a migraine significantly reduced the pain.
Also, an observational pilot study involving 28 patients with migraines found that intranasal evaporative cooling could relieve the severity of the migraines and improve migraine-related symptoms.
For tension headaches, a warm compress is always the best solution as it helps ease muscle tightness, thus relieving the pain.
You can apply a warm compress to the area of pain using a towel dipped in hot water, wrung out, and folded. Hold the towel to the skin for about 20 minutes until the pain disappears.
A steamy shower can also do the trick.
Scientists have found a clear link between the lack of sleep or interrupted sleep with headaches.
In one study, 25 healthy individuals with 1-3 hours of sleep loss for 1-3 nights experienced headaches lasting for as little as an hour to as long as the whole day.
The participants described the headache as dull with some heaviness or pressure in the forehead.
Getting enough sleep offers a therapeutic benefit to the brain, and muscles, causing the headaches to resolve.
4. Taking a B complex vitamin
Research shows that vitamins B6, B9, and B12 can reduce the severity and frequency of migraines. This is partly due to the ability of these nutrients to lower homocysteine levels in the blood.
Homocysteine is an amino acid that can cause conditions like heart disease if left to accumulate. It has also been shown to initiate migraine attacks. Various evidence indicates that the higher the homocysteine levels, the higher the severity and frequency of the attacks.
Vitamin B6, B9, and B12 have all been shown to break down homocysteine, thus preventing its accumulation in the body. Taking a B complex supplement is the easiest way to obtain the 3 nutrients at a go.
5. Take some ginger
The natural compounds in ginger contain analgesic properties. Thus, taking it can help relieve migraine and migraine-related symptoms like nausea and vomiting.
The easiest way to experience these benefits is to rub ginger essential oil on your temples or prepare ginger tea using fresh or powdered ginger root. Ginger is one of the greatest natural remedies for headaches.
In one study, researchers found that taking half a teaspoon of ginger powder in some warm water at the onset of a migraine offered relief similar to a commonly prescribed migraine medication, sumatriptan.
Exercise can be an effective non-pharmacological intervention to decrease headaches, including tension and migraine headaches. This is because exercise releases endorphins, hormones that act as natural painkillers.
In a randomized control study, relaxation, exercise, and medications were compared as methods of preventing migraine attacks.
The researchers noted that exercise had the highest reduction in attacks, making it one of the best prophylactic treatments for patients who do not want to take daily medications or those that do not benefit from them.
Aerobic exercises such as walking or cycling are considered the most preferred by people with migraines over high-intensity exercises like weight lifting. Probably because they offer more relief and do not put too much exertion to the body.
Additionally, exercise relieves stress and improves sleep, both of which can also help relieve headaches.
7. Herbal teas
Taking herbal tea is not only an easy way to take in more water, but these teas contain compounds that have been shown to relieve headaches.
Having discussed ginger, additional herbal teas include chamomile, lavender, and peppermint.
These teas have a cooling and relaxing effect that can calm your muscles and mind, thus easing headaches.
Aromatherapy refers to the use of essential oils for therapeutic benefits.
For instance, a study found that inhaling lavender essential oil for 15 minutes reduced the severity of headaches.
Applying diluted peppermint topically has also been shown to reduce tension and migraine headaches.
Magnesium is an important mineral in the body. It’s needed for your muscles and nerves to work properly, to make protein, bone, and DNA, to maintain normal blood pressure, and to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Increasing your magnesium intake has also been shown to relieve headaches. Scientists believe this is because magnesium can block brain signals that lead to migraine with an aura, including changes in vision and other senses.
Also, magnesium controls the contraction and relaxation of muscles and can thus relieve tension headaches and migraines.
One study found that taking 500mg of magnesium oxide was as effective as valproate sodium (an anticonvulsant and mood stabilizer also used to treat migraines) in preventing migraine attacks but without the side effects.
Magnesium supplements can even prevent menstrual-related headaches, according to an old study.
10. Massaging pressure points
Pressing on certain points of your body can help relieve headaches. These may include points on the face, shoulders, and hands.
i. Shoulders (shoulder well)
These points are located at the base of the neck, where the right and left sides of the neck touch the edge of your shoulders. Use your thumb to apply firm circular pressure to these points lasting about a minute on each side.
This helps relieve neck and shoulder stiffness helping relieve headaches associated with the same.
ii. Hands (the union valley)
Locate the web between your thumb and index finger. Begin by lightly pinching this area with the thumb and index finger of the other hand for about 10 seconds.
Next, make circular motions on this area using the thumb towards one direction for 10 seconds, then repeat in the opposite direction for another 10 seconds.
These movements can help relieve tension in the head and neck, often associated with tension headaches.
iii. Face(drilling bamboo)
These points are located in the face where the bridge of your nose meets the ridge of your eyebrows.
Use your index figures to apply pressure firmly to both sides simultaneously. Hold for 10 seconds, release, and repeat.
This can help relieve headaches from sinus pain or eye strain.
This point is located between your eyebrows, where your forehead meets the bridge of your nose. Apply firm pressure using your index figure for one minute and repeat accordingly. This can help relieve sinus pressure and eye strain. Repeat the same on the opposite hand.
Natural remedies for headaches can be an effective and safe way to relieve the pain of a headache without any side effects.
From drinking plenty of water and reducing stress levels to using essential oils or herbal teas, there are many natural ways to relieve your headache.
With so many options available, you’re sure to find one that works best for you.
However, it is important to remember that the best solution may vary depending on the cause of your headache, so make sure to consult a medical professional if you experience persistent or severe headaches.
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